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Season of eats


07/06/17
By Jody Reese jreese@hippopress.com



 It’s not really summer in New Hampshire unless we’ve had a few days in the high 80s with a bit of mugginess. This year it was almost the Fourth of July before that happened. But it’s finally here and that, along with some cookouts, got me thinking about what it really means to experience summer in New Hampshire — and what foods really give us that sense of place that is so strong here. 

Burgers. Like many of our great American foods, this one may have roots overseas, but we tweaked it just enough to make it American. One of the things that makes it such a great summer food is that it can be eaten with your hands (that’s one way I determined whether it’s summer food). Shameless plug: July is the Granite State Burger Challenge where almost 30 restaurants in the Merrimack Valley (and some a bit farther out) are creating awesome burgers, and diners can win daily prizes and vie for a $2,000 grand prize of gift certificates. Details can be found at granitestateburgerchallenge.com. The burger is one of those foods that allows for almost endless variations. One of my favorites is a simple beef patty with some salt and pepper and a slice of yellow onion on a white roll. I think I had it with a Coke from a bottle — one of the real ones, with sugar in it. 
Lobster roll. In other parts of the country they think lobster is fancy for the jet-setters. Here in New Hampshire and the rest of New England, we lovingly toss it in mayo, add some salt and pepper and celery and put it on a white hot dog roll (sometimes lightly grilled with butter) and serve it on paper plates. 
Beach pizza. This is summer goodness at its simplest. If you haven’t had it, make the trip to Hampton to try it. It’s basically a thin pizza crust with a sweet sauce and a small amount of cheese. And yes, it’s to be eaten with your hands and comes in squares. 
Ice cream. New Englanders and New Hampshire folks eat a lot of ice cream. For dwellers in a climate that is chilly for almost six month of the year, we eat a whole lot. New Hampshire is ninth in the nation by state in per capita consumption of ice cream; Massachusetts is fourth and Rhode Island is second. While it’s hard to say what the most New Hampshire flavor is, I’d go with blueberry or coffee — or anything with jimmies on it. Soft-serve twist works too. 
And the best part: We already live here. We can just jump in our cars and grab a burger, lobster roll, beach pizza and ice cream. Maybe all in one long lazy summer trip around the state. 
 





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